High school sports

Marina rallies for win, heads to semis

MARINA got off to a good start Friday night against Ontario Christian, recovering its onside kickoff. The Vikings rallied to win 24-21 and advance to the CIF-SS Division 11 semifinal. Kash Soto(42) gives the refs a hand (Orange County Tribune photos by Jim Tortolano).

By Christopher Abdelmalek

Running back Pharaoh Rush and quarterback Gavin Del Toro led the Vikings of Marina High School to a come-frombehind victory against the Knights of Ontario Christian High School 24-21 at Boswell Field in Westminster. This was the quarterfinal round of the CIF-SS Division 11 playoffs.

The Vikings (10-2) and Knights (9-3) came into this game with almost identical records on the season. Both teams featured a strong running game as well. The Vikings defense however stepped up huge Friday niught to help secure the victory for the team. “They run their offense really well, we ran a defense we had not run until this game tonight,” said Coach Jeff Turley after the game. “I came up with it just for them.”

PHAROAH RUSH (4) carries for Marina against Ontario Christian. He ended up with 127 yards rushing.

The Knights defense started off well, forcing the Blue and Gold to go three and out on their first two possessions. This set up the offense to take over and score on their first possession a one-yard run by running back Alexander Terriquez.

Shortly after the touchdown, Marina quarterback Jack Miller suffered a broken collar bone and was forced out of the game. This paved the way for Del Toro to enter the game and take command of the offense.

That he did as Del Toro led the Vikings on an impressive 80-yard touchdown drive capped off with a one-yard touchdown of his own to tie the game at 7-7.

Del Toro finished the game with two rushing touchdowns while going 6-9 in the air for 58 yards an interception and a touchdown thrown as well. “I’m very thankful that we able to give that kid a lot of reps during the year,” said Turley. “He did an awesome job.”

GAVIN DEL TORO (2) ran for two scores and passed for another for the Vikings.

The Knights would answer back however after the rushing touchdown as Connor Mooneyhan returned an 11-yard interception for a touchdown to go up 14-7 just before the half.

Turley made the necessary adjustments at halftime to turn this game around. The Blue and Gold came out and scored on their first possession of the third quarter. Aided by a 55-yard run by Rush, Del Toro tossed a floater to Dane Brenton for a 13-yard score to tie the game at 14-14. Brenton would also leave the game with a shoulder injury later in the game.

After some more stout defensive play from Marina, the offense took over again late in the third to score another rushing touchdown by Del Toro. This drive was set up by Rush’s 24-yard gain after starting at the Knights 32-yard line.

“I just got to thank my line of course. I just had to read the holes,” said Rush after the game. He ran the ball 17 times for 129 yards.

With just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Vikings tacked on a 27-yard field goal from kicker Eric Church to go up 24-14. The Knights however were not done as they immediately marched down the field and score on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Serna to Trent Englebrecht. That closed the gap to 24-21.

However, Rush and Del Toro stepped up once again and led the offense to several key first downs to ice the game and earn the victory 24-21.

Marina will face off against the winner of the El Rancho vs. Hemet match in a semifinal road game next week.

Here are the results of Friday CIF-SS football quarterfinals for local teams. Scores will be posted as they are received.

  • Division 3: La Habra 35, Edison 27. Braeden Boyles passed for 248 yards and 1 TD for Edison.
  • Division 10: Orange 27, J.W. North 7. Daylen Pedroza threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score.
  • Division 11: Marina 24, Ontario Christian 21 (see details above).
  • Division 14: Loara 28, Sierra Vista 20.

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